David Beckham launches ‘dream’ MLS team in Miami

Bringing an MLS club to Miami has been a hell of a journey. I promise you the team that we bring into this league will be one of the best teams… the best team
– David Beckham

David Beckham has launched his long-awaited Major League Soccer team in Miami today (29 January).

The former England captain had exercised an option in his contract with former side LA Galaxy to buy an expansion franchise in 2014.

The team, which has yet to be named, will play at a new 25,000-seat stadium in the city's Overton neighbourhood.

Designed by sports architects Populous, the ground will be lighter and airier than previous iterations proposed by other firms. The open-roofed structure will feature a thin canopy, with parts of the field visible from above, and walls that are open to the elements above the seats. Spectators will be encouraged to come by boat, bus or on foot to reduce traffic in the neighbourhood.

Fighting back the tears, Beckham told fans and media at a press conference in Florida: “I promised my son who’s here tonight that I wouldn’t get emotional but it’s going to be tough because this is something that has been a dream for many, many years.

“Bringing an MLS club to Miami has been a hell of a journey. I promise you the team that we bring into this league will be one of the best teams… the best team.

“When I was awarded the team there was only one city for me and it was here. I was drawn to this city for the same reason that millions of people are – the diversity, the culture, the weather, the beaches, the people.

“It was very difficult at times when we said, 'this dream isn’t going to happen', but I don’t give up – nothing in my career has been easy.”

Beckham was referring to four years of disputes over the site for a stadium in southern Florida, with residents having opposed multiple locations. A lawsuit opposing the development was dismissed in October last year, paving the way for progress.

The former Manchester United midfielder, who spent five years at LA Galaxy after signing from Real Madrid in 2007, becomes the first former MLS player to own a team.

He emphasised the need to foster homegrown talent in Miami rather than relying on signings from the more competitive European leagues.

“We want to bring in the top players from Europe, but the thing we are more interested in is home grown talent. We will build a top-class academy – that is how you build a team that everyone can be proud of.”

The other partners involved in the project include former Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller, Bolivian-American businessman Marcelo Claure, South Floridian businessmen Jorge and Jose Mas and Japanese entrepreneur Masayoshi Son.

David Beckham  Miami  Major League Soccer  LA Galaxy 
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Beckham's Miami dream team steps closer to reality with stadium land deal

David Beckham has launched his long-awaited Major League Soccer team in Miami today (29 January). The former England captain had exercised an option in his contract with former side LA Galaxy to buy an expansion franchise in 2014. The team, which has yet to be named, will play at a new 25,000-seat stadium in the city's Overton neighbourhood. Designed by sports architects Populous, the ground will be lighter and airier
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David Beckham made an emotional speech during the Miami expansion team announcement at the Adrienne Arsht Center today (29 January) / Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Network/SIPA USA/PA Images
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